Author Topic: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?  (Read 762 times)

Offline sveto

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Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« on: January 07, 2020, 01:04:52 pm »
I've wondered for years: What property of a humbucker makes it have a more dry distortion vs a more wet/juicy one? Is it the EQ (like more/less mids)? Is it the magnet (alnico vs. ceramic)? Is it DC?

I know that the pick can influence the attack: Tortex makes it more "dry", Ultex or Nylon makes it more "juicy". But ignoring the attack part, playing multiple strings, some pickups ring dryer, like air under pressure (like the Evolution, PAF Pro, Transition); and some sound wetter, more like sputtering oil (Illuminator, Tone Zone).

I'm trying to find out if there is any consistent property that can "predict" in what category a pickups falls. Would be extremely useful for me when choosing a new model, because i hate dry sounding pickups - as a tone connoisseur i find them boring. :)

Offline HarlowTheFish

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 01:59:09 pm »
A pickup that's more naturally compressed, higher output, and less treble and upper mids and more low end is gonna feel more "wet", whereas something that's more dynamic, lower output, and with more top end than bottom is gonna feel more "dry". That's pretty general though, so YMMV.

Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2020, 11:27:49 am »
I've wondered for years: What property of a humbucker makes it have a more dry distortion vs a more wet/juicy one?

your ears   ;)


I'm trying to find out if there is any consistent property that can "predict" in what category a pickups falls.

not really.

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Offline sveto

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2020, 02:32:17 pm »
Even Steve Vai said that the Evolutions sound very dry (one of the interviews from the "s*x & Religion" era). And the man knows a thing or two about guitar tone. :)

Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2020, 09:21:41 am »
Even Steve Vai said that the Evolutions sound very dry.

that's what his ears tell him.



And the man knows a thing or two about guitar tone. :)

about HIS tone. 

some people think his tone has been shiite on everything after Eat 'Em And Smile.  and some people do not.


hence... why it's best to let YOUR ears determine YOUR tone and what's best for YOU.  also why there is no property that can unequivocally determine how any tone will sound to the masses.  unless it's the tone of Miley Cyrus' voice, which is the reason they invented auto-tune
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Offline Guitar74

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2020, 04:21:45 pm »
some people think his tone has been shiite on everything after Eat 'Em And Smile.

I would be one of those people.

Offline sveto

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2020, 06:45:08 pm »
IMO, there are a couple of nice tones on Eat Them And Smile (especially Ladies' Night In Buffalo). But the ultimate compendium of best guitar tones ever goes to Passion & Warfare. Without this album, i'd have never started playing electric guitar, but instead would've gone full keyboard, probably... :)

The Riddle and For The Love Of God are THE tonal heights that no one else have ever reached (not even Vai himself).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 06:47:25 pm by sveto »

Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2020, 05:56:05 am »
some people think his tone has been shiite on everything after Eat 'Em And Smile.

I would be one of those people.

yep.  he complained about the overly-processed vibe on DLR's Skyscraper and then went off to abuse the Eventide H3000 on P&W and Slip Of The Tongue, effectively putting a hex on Whitesnake they still haven't recovered from.
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Offline Guitar74

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2020, 11:49:27 am »
I'm like Vai. I may not be a true fanboy, but have appreciated his musicianship. That being said, Slip of the Tongue made me long for the Sykes days.

Offline Aceman

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2020, 09:56:00 am »
I have never heard this wet v dry thing before.

But an interesting question or way of looking at things.  I will agree - more compression = smoother = wet.  A2 Mags = smoother = wet.

As for Vai, I think a lot like Slash, at some point his tone became a caricature of himself.  It was just like Uber-Vai or Vai on steroids.  Too much of a good thing.


Offline sveto

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Re: Curious: Dry vs wet sounding pickups?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2020, 02:55:54 pm »
You could replace "wet" with "juicy", if you like. The meaning is the same.